Author Archives: sspa

An Evening with Pattanarak Foundation


Partners Asia held a wonderful event this week featuring Seri Thongmak, the executive director of Pattanarak Foundation, one of our local partners. Pattanarak is an innovative grassroots organization working with disadvantaged populations in rural areas along the border between Thailand and Burma – Myanmar. The group embodies the approach that we strongly encourage at Partners Asia: to build capabilities and leadership within these poor communities so that they can resiliently meet their own diverse needs as they arise. Organic agriculture, […]

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Reality of Burma’s Rapid Changes


As enthusiasm about Burma’s rises to new heights, I think it is important to have at least one foot on the ground about the reality of the situation.  I think this article on Myanmar – Burma in The Economist is a good way to begin. Despite the rapid changes taking place at the top political level, fifty years on mismanagement of the economy has created problems that will not be quickly resolved. Education and healthcare, areas where Partners Asia is […]

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Avoiding Mistakes of the Past in Burma


“[I]n these heady days of Burma’s opening up to the world, let’s not forget the risks and lessons from scaling up the level of foreign aid too quickly.” Tom Parks of the Asia Foundation has written a great article describing the kinds of problems that the international community has faced (and caused) after taking sudden and great interests in  countries experiencing significant changes. The lessons the international community should heed as it dives into Burma are fairly clear. Because our team […]

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Build Burma from the Ground Up


This interesting current-affairs article on Foreign Policy has been making the rounds and brings up important issues now facing and involving exactly the sorts of locally led groups that Partners Asia has been supporting for many years. As Elliott writes: [A] remarkably robust and powerful set of citizens, self-organized into groups outside of the state, has performed the necessary heavy lifting that has enabled society’s survival under a capricious and abusive military government. Many observers may have missed this because […]

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A Time of Opportunity for Burma Myanmar


Reflections from Partners Asia’s Myanmar Programs Director  December 2011 I write to you from a hot and steamy Yangon. As a close observer of Burma issues for decades, I want to describe how different the atmosphere here feels these days, and not because of the humidity: Recent high-level changes have begun to encourage a fresh air of optimism (albeit still cautious) among people here. Travelling around Yangon I have the strangers’ privilege, and patience, to talk to anyone who will talk […]

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